Vendée Globe is never like this (until it is)

Published on November 24th, 2020

(November 24, 2020; Day 17) – Charlie Dalin, Vendée Globe leader since yesterday morning, confirmed that he is in full “inshore mode, fighting for every metre I can gain,” as he tries to break through to the southern ocean low pressure train which should finally catapult him eastwards towards the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope which the leaders should pass by November 29 or 30.

For all of the predictions that the fast new gen foilers would surely break Armel Le Cléac’h 74 days 3 hours record, so far on this schedule they will already be four days behind 2016-7’s pace. In fact, Dalin is on the same stretch of South Atlantic which yielded a 24 hour ‘record’ for Alex Thomson in 2016-17 but which could not be validated because he did not break it by one full mile.

The 36 year old solo skipper of Apivia observed wryly today, “I had expected this stage of the South Atlantic to be one of the fastest sections of the round the world race. And I am missing out. I think this is one of the biggest challenges I have had right now, I work at the routing, I watch the wind shifts on the forecasts, and sail by feel in terms of the wind I have at the moment and in front of me.

“I am not strict with any one model or idea, I try to take into account all the different parameters to pick my best course and where to gybe. I’m happy, we’re doing well against Thomas (Ruyant) but these coming days are set to be full of manoeuvres, sail changes, and and strategic thinking as I deal with a rapidly changing dynamic situation. We should get into the stronger winds in about 48 hours, so I’m setting up for that.”

Dalin has done well against his French rival Ruyant, constantly eking out miles on Ruyant to be some 70+ nautical miles ahead of LinkedOut.

“I spend lots of time pouring over the chart table looking for the best way to go,” shared Ruyant. “I have the bigger picture but there are a lot of subtleties to deal with and, for the moment, Charlie (Dalin) is doing it very, very well. Charlie has taken a little bit of a lead, but I am not that far behind and we have a big gap with the rest of the fleet.

“The position of 2nd in the Vendée Globe with a cushion in the lead ahead is quite comfortable to be honest, but we haven’t yet entered the Indian Ocean. That means there is a long way yet to go. The Atlantic has had a lot of surprises in store for us, and for my part, a lot of DIY work on the mast, which has been really tiring. I am slowly recovering from it.

“The climb up the mast wasn’t easy to do, but it was unavoidable. I had prepared myself for it, I have a great system to climb, but after fifteen days of racing, your energy levels are down and getting spent. Even the manoeuvres are a little bit slower, but the most important thing is to not do anything stupid.”

Jean Le Cam maintains his third place, still outpacing a posse of younger foiling IMOCAs on his 2007 Farr design.

“People must be thinking oh heavens Le Cam is old, but at the moment it is all okay,” said 61-year-old Le Cam. “The boat is from 2007 and it doing so well and I am getting on well with it. The issue about being old is that the older you are the more experience you have. The more silly things you did when you were younger, the more you learn what not to do.

“There are plenty of older people who have lots of great talents and good values who end up without a job after 50. In my case here I am over 60, and so it is a shame for all these other people who cant get jobs because they are ‘older’. But you get daft young people and silly older people alike. If I had to employ someone I would prefer to get an older smart experience person than a younger one who is maybe not so smart.”

Behind Le Cam in fifth and sixth Yannick Bestaven (Maitre Côq) and Germany’s Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) were racing within sight of each other just a couple of miles apart. Sam Davies (Initiatives Coeur) and Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) have both broken away from this group, gybing onto a more direct southwards track to try and catch the eastbound train of stronger breezes earlier but from a position further back to the west.

At the moment current routings have the peloton two days behind at Cape of Good Hope.

The Doldrums remain active and frustrating for the group of seven IMOCAs near the back of the fleet. Finnish airline pilot Ari Huusela (STARK) was trying to remain cool and focused after being kept in a holding pattern by very light and changeable winds which he today said had taken him on at least one full 360 degree turn. Nearby Miranda Merron (Campagne de France) finally found out why her boat had been slowed, discovering a plastic bag round her keel.

In the same area of the Doldrums Sébastien Destremau has been wrestling with a complete loss of hydraulic oil pressure in his keel ram which has left the head of his keel swinging free. He was looking to cannibalize another piece of piping to repair the cylinder leak and meantime had reported he had temporarily secured the keel.

Meantime, Alex Thomson (GBR) continues to complete his repairs to HUGO BOSS now in eighth place this evening 560 nm behind Dalin. The Brit remains steadfastly upbeat considering the structural repairs he has had to make to an area just behind the bow, the silver lining being the benign conditions, just what leader Dalin was today complaining about.

Ranking – 21:00 (GMT)
1. Charlie DALIN, APIVIA – 19104.8 nm DTF
2. Thomas RUYANT, LinkedOut – 76.76 nm DTL
3. Jean LE CAM, Yes We Cam! – 318.01 nm DTL
4. Kevin ESCOFFIER, PRB- 368.49 nm DTL
5. Boris HERRMANN – SEAEXPLORER-YACHT CLUB DE MONACO – 394.87 nm DTL
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTF – Distance to Lead

Race detailsBoat typesTrackerRankingYouTube

The Vendée Globe is the only sailing race round the world that’s solo, non-stop, and without assistance, and it was all systems go for the 9th edition on November 8. Beginning in 1989 with 13 entries, the start line in 2020 had 33 skippers taking off from Les Sables d’Olonne, France.

The development of the IMOCA Class toward foiling will see these boats hurl themselves around the world, teetering on carbon skates through inhospitable regions, chasing the record set in 2016-17 by Armel le Cléac’h of 74:03:35:46.

2020-21 Attrition
Nov. 16, 2020 – Nicolas TROUSSEL, CORUM L’EPARGNE – dismasted

Participation history:
1989-90: 13 boats at the start
1992-93: 15 boats
1996-97: 15 boats
2000-01: 24 boats
2004-05: 20 boats
2008-2009: 30 boats
2012-2013: 20 boats
2016-2017: 29 boats
2020-2021: 33 boats

2020-21 Entries
Fabrice AMEDEO: NEWREST – ART & FENÊTRES
Romain ATTANASIO: PURE – BEST WESTERN
Alexia BARRIER: TSE – 4MYPLANET
Yannick BESTAVEN: MAÎTRE COQ IV
Jérémie BEYOU: CHARAL
Arnaud BOISSIÈRES: LA MIE CÂLINE – ARTISANS ARTIPÔLE
Louis BURTON: BUREAU VALLÉE 2
Didac COSTA: ONE PLANET ONE OCEAN
Manuel COUSIN: GROUPE SÉTIN
Clarisse CREMER: BANQUE POPULAIRE X
Charlie DALIN: APIVIA
Samantha DAVIES: INITIATIVES-CŒUR
Sébastien DESTREMAU: MERCI
Benjamin DUTREUX: OMIA – WATER FAMILY
Kevin ESCOFFIER: PRB
Clément GIRAUD: COMPAGNIE DU LIT / JILITI
Pip HARE: MEDALLIA
Boris HERRMANN: SEA EXPLORER – YACHT CLUB DE MONACO
Ari HUUSELA: STARK
Isabelle JOSCHKE: MACSF
Jean LE CAM: YES WE CAM !
Stéphane LE DIRAISON: TIME FOR OCEANS
Miranda MERRON: CAMPAGNE DE FRANCE
Giancarlo PEDOTE: PRYSMIAN GROUP
Alan ROURA: LA FABRIQUE
Thomas RUYANT: LINKEDOUT
Damien SEGUIN: GROUPE APICIL
Kojiro SHIRAISHI: DMG MORI
Sébastien SIMON: ARKEA – PAPREC
Maxime SOREL: V AND B – MAYENNE
Alex THOMSON: HUGO BOSS
Armel TRIPON: L’OCCITANE EN PROVENCE
Nicolas TROUSSEL: CORUM L’ÉPARGNE

Source: Vendée Globe

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